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Kylin Hill powers No. 18 Mississippi State to road win at Kansas State

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No. 18 Mississippi State (2-0) proved to be much too powerful in two key areas against Kansas State (1-1). The Bulldogs went on the road and used a strong defensive effort and a powerful performance from running back Kylin Hill to leave town with a 31-10 victory against the Wildcats. Hill rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns and added one touchdown reception in the win, while the defense held the home team to 197 yards of total offense.

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald made his season debut for the Bulldogs after sitting out of the season opener due to a suspension.  Fitzgerald did not light up the field with his arm (11-of-27 for 154 yards) but he did throw two touchdown passes and he made up for it with his 159 rushing yards. But the story of the game was Hill, the sophomore running back who made a name for himself against Kansas State Saturday afternoon.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Hill had more offensive production than Kansas State, demonstrating just how much of an advantage Mississippi State had with Hill and the defense, which have typically been Kansas State’s bread and butter.

The last time Kansas State gave up over 300 yards of rushing offense in a regular season game was on Nov. 8, 2014 when TCU rushed for 334 yards. UCLA is the last team to go for at least 300 rushing yards, doing so later in that season in the bowl game with 331 rushing yards. The 372 rushing yards by Mississippi State was the most allowed by Kansas State since 2010 when Nebraska rushed for 451 yards.

Mississippi State returns home next week to host Louisiana-Lafayette in one last non-conference game before jumping into the SEC schedule in Week 4. Kansas State will play a third straight home game next week with a game against UTSA. The Wildcats open Big 12 play the following week at West Virginia.

Mississippi State defense in control at Kansas State, Bulldogs lead 17-3 at half

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After serving his one-game suspension for a violation of team rules last week, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald made his 2018 season debut for Mississippi State this afternoon on the road against Kansas State. His first series of the year did not last very long, as the Bulldogs went three-and-out to open the game. Despite a tough first half of play, Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs do own a 17-3 lead on Kansas State at halftime in Manhattan, Kansas.

Mississippi State was able to open up a 14-point lead in the second quarter after the defense got an interception by Erroll Thompson, which led to a 28-yard touchdown run by Kylin Hill. Before that sequence, the game had been pretty close with defenses dictating the tempo of the game by not allowing many big-play opportunities.

Kansas State benefitted from the result of a controversial instant replay ruling. After appearing to have forced and recovered a fumble from Wildcats quarterback Skylar Thompson inside the red zone, officials ruled Thompson had enough control for a throwing motion and ruled the play an incomplete pass.

After being awarded possession of the football would tie the game with a 26-yard field goal by Blake Lynch.

Mississippi State appears to be in a comfortable spot with the way the defense is playing. Kansas State has 11 yards of total offense and has gone 2-of-7 on third down conversions. The Wildcats may not have the offense needed to come back so the Wildcats will have to make some big plays happen on defense to help out.

Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald suspended for season opener

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One of the top quarterbacks in the SEC will not get the chance to start on opening day this weekend. Head coach Joe Moorhead announced Nick Fitzgerald has been suspended for the season opener due to a violation of team rules. Keytaon Thompson will get the start instead for Week 1.

The exact nature of the violation is unconfirmed, although the incident that resulted in the suspension-worthy violation is reported to have occurred in March. Barring any other announcements, it is expected Fitzgerald will be reinstated for Mississippi State’s road contest at Kansas State in Week 2, but an announcement from Moorhead will have to confirm that at a later time.

Fitzgerald passed for 1,782 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 984 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Bulldogs last season. His ability to be a dual-threat seemingly makes for an ideal quarterback for Moorhead as he takes over the program.

Thompson appeared in 10 games last season, in which he completed 32 of 66 pass attempts for 388 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Thompson also rushed for 446 yards and six touchdowns, and he should be a suitable fill-in as a starter for Mississippi State’s season opener, even against a solid FCS program.

Defensive tackle Cory Thomas was also suspended by Moorhead for the season opener.

Mississippi State hosts Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.

J.K. Dobbins races past Bryce Love as Bovada’s updated Heisman favorite

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Remember yesterday when we shared the initial 2018 Heisman Trophy odds from Bovada? Well, scrap that already because the people have come in with enough bets to warrant some quick changes to the Heisman odds. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins soared up four spots to climb into the top spot on Bovada’s board after just 24 hours.

Dobbins was initially given 12/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and the bettors went scrambling for those odds. Bovada’s updated odds see Dobbins as the way-too-early favorite with 6/1 odds. Tied for the best odds with Dobbins is another Big Ten running back, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor didn’t move up quite as dramatically to 6/1 after having 8/1 odds a day ago. The short-lived preseason favorite from Bovada and 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Stanford running back Bryce Love, has slipped into third on the board with 7/1 odds. Alabama’s national championship hero, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tied Love with 7/1 odds.

Some other notable dramatic changes include the addition of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (25/1). Lock, the SEC’s top passer returning in 2018, was initially left completely off the board. He is the only newcomer to the updated odds from Bovada at this moment. The most notable drop in the odds was from Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who fell from 55/1 odds to 66/1. Most other drops were just by a few spots, including Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate falling from 9/1 to 14/1, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier falling from 12/1 to 16/1 and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley dropping from 18/1 to 20/1.

Here are the updated Heisman odds as relayed by Bovada:

J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 6/1
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 7/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 14/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 16/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 16/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 18/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 18/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 20/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 25/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 25/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) 25/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 25/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1
D'Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 66/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1

Saquon Barkley ascends to top of Bovada’s Heisman Trophy board

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Coming off a monster performance against Iowa, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is now the new leader in the clubhouse for the Heisman Trophy, according to Bovada at least.

Bovada’s weekly updated Heisman odds put Barkley atop the Heisman board with 7/4 odds. He moves ahead of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, USC quarterback Sam Darnold, and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville, and separates himself from Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Barkley has rushed for 518 yards with four rushing touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season. That alone would not be worthy of such high Heisman praise, of course, but Barkley has shown how good he is by contributing to the Penn State passing game. Barkley currently leads the Big Ten with 23 receptions and a conference-leading 335 receiving yards. Barkley has also added some yards on special teams returns, although he has not broken loose for a significant kickoff return just yet.

Barkley is not the only running back moving up Bovada’s board, however. Stanford running back Bryce Love went from 66/1 up to 33/1 following a big performance against UCLA. LOve is currently the nation’s leading rusher.

Two players were dropped from the Bovada board this week. Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins went from having 25/1 odds last week to off the board this week. I’m not entirely sure why Dobbins fell off the map so quickly, but he’ll have a chance to pop back on the board in the coming weeks. LSU running back Derrius Guice also fell off the board this week after having 50/1 odds last week.